Seeds in Europe -International seeds, and seed banks

[Post originally from the old forum]
UK group importation of seeds from the US?
It seems hard to get seeds from the US, and we are missing out on so much genetics and wonderful landraces and whatever other seeds they have there that we may like to grow. I wonder, if there are enough of us in the UK wanting seeds, perhaps we could make a mass order, all the seeds we each want from the various websites or if we can get the chance, from this Landrace course seed sharing project, have them all sent to one place in the US, and then get the phytosanitary certification and whatever else we need for importation done on the entire batch then sent to one of us in the UK and distributed from here? Basically a similar system that is happening for the US members of this course, but including resolving the importation problems that are preventing us from being a part of that.

What does anyone think?


Matthew P
Your mention of the term “researcher” reminds me that an alternative to PS certificates could be using the various germplasm repositories in UK or EU.

I used the NordGen seedbank to get 10 traditional broad bean landraces (Accessions - GRIN-Global Web v It’s basically like ordering seeds from any other online store, except at the ‘checkout’ you write a brief description of your intentions.

So I took the educational/research angle and mentioned this course and Joseph’s book and that I’d be sharing the seeds with those interested in developing landraces (I didn’t use the term ‘student’, but more like ‘participant/collaborator’). I think the seeds arrived in like 3 days. They even wrote me to apologise that one variety I selected had a germination rate below 60% so they sent two packets of seeds…

Thomas P
hi, I did the same thing you did
in France you have a Center for Biological Resources centered on cereals, they sent me 100 seeds of about 40 varieties, mainly landraces, for free. Namely: rye, oat, wheat, barley, spelt and differenr regional varieties. I am finishing sowing using a “sawing plank” I made to be able to compare vegetation at the same sawing density.
Got other cereals seed from the Graines de Noé NGO, from the Conservatoire Horticole et Céréalier d’Arné (that you will find on e-bay), from Vreeken’s Zaden in the Netherlands, and from Pro Specie Rara in Switzerland.
See the “sawing plank” with 2 kinds of seeds from the Centrr for Biological Resources

There are many different “centers for biological resources” which are specialized on different vegetables, they are working mainly as providers for the seed industry, but are too accessible to everyone else if you find the “back door” for individual’s requests. I have been very surprised by them being ok woth sending seeds, and for free.

hugo m
Aaaaah! What are you people doing? Mixing up all thèse genetics? You must be craaazy!!

Happy Christmas everybody.

On a serious note. Aren’t Joseph his modern landraces so far removed from our European situation that adding for instance his Maximas will just produce confusion and unnecessary traits in my population Maximas?
I mean i’ve never even seen a squash bug and his soil is limey and mine is granite, i dont have crazily intense light nor différences in temperature like his between day and night.
I’d love to have thé “exposive-ness” of his crops so my plants could outgrow thé snails. But it’s not a necessity, i have always had a harvest.
I just wonder if incorporating trans Atlantic genes is the best way or should we be keeping it more or less European? Any thoughts?
For tomatoes, i am looking for a strain with thé open pollinating flowers. Does someone know where to get these on this side of thé Atlantic?

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Hi @Hugo . Well, for me, I think the abundant genetics could be very useful, no? Take for example the potato and tomato, they come from very far away and yet they worked well to bring to Europe, right? And Joseph’s seeds are presumably much better adapted for UK and France than those Andean crops were when Europe received them first!

Even if we consider modern tomatoes, we can improve them by crossing them with wild ones from Peru and Galapagos and so on, so different in climate for Joseph or for us, but still useful to add genetic variation, right?

So my thoughts would be that if you have nice varieties you are growing, or even landraces you have made, I would think that if you have the space, and the opportunity, it could be great to grow Joseph’s seeds too. For example maybe:

Patch A: grow your old landrace
Patch B: grow with Joseph’s landrace seeds
Patch C: grow both together all mixed up.

Then see how things go over 3 years! Maybe B or C does best! Or, maybe A does best but B or C produce some excellent individuals whose seeds you want to then add to A!

Then regarding:
“For tomatoes, i am looking for a strain with thé open pollinating flowers. Does someone know where to get these on this side of thé Atlantic?”

I wonder if you really mean ‘open pollinating’? All heirloom tomatoes are open pollinated. ‘Open pollinated’ includes self-pollination. Do you perhaps mean ‘promiscuously pollinated’ (and also ‘exserted’ has basically the same meaning, exserted stigmas makes more out-crossing)? If so, I know sources for some wild promiscuous ones but not domestic ones in Europe.

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@Hugo I don’t think adaptions for one thing mean that those traits couldn’t be useful in different conditions. Same gene might have effect on several things. Anyway, point is to mix them up and let the natural conditions thin out those that aren’t usefull. I found source for some of Josephs and other tomatoes with exserted stigmas. Will be making trades later and depending of amount I get I could trade some with you.

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@JesseI I really look forward to seeing how the tomatoes do for you in Finland! And may I ask, do you already grow any tomatoes outside there? If so, which have done well for you? (I would love to see photos! :slight_smile: ) And if not, will you be trying to grow the exserted tomatoes outside?

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I have grown tomatoes exclusively outdoors for past 3 years, same with everything else except some c.chinense that I have on my balcony. I have grown some 50 different varieties over these years and have 50 new varieties for next year. Most that I have chosen based on earliness have made it atleast ok. Ok is if they have any ripe fruit and others are at technical ripeness so that they will ripen good indoors. Not many have really stood out. Earliness is very important, but lack of disease resistance has eliminated many dispite earliness. Some I have eliminated because their cropping period is just too long, some just not being productive. What I have grown atleast 2 years and will grow next year are, yantarnuy, siperian early, large barred boar, cream sausage, mountain gold and arctic rose dwarf. Of those large barred boar is somewhat late in the season, but it is very fast in ripe from flower for big fruit (around 50days) and has very short cropping period that it might ripen all if first week of september is warm. Mountain gold is late and just barely ripens if it’s not very warm, but it seems fairly healthy and fruits stay good up to 2 months after ripening. Some others that I had first time last year were quite good, but not making judgement based on 1 year unless really good/bad. Some older/newer varieties I left out because I have them already in a cross and next year there is going to be so much to grow in any case. Target is to make as many crosses as possible and then -24 mainly grow F1 and recross them so that they are 4 way crosses if possible. There are some pictures in facebook group “plant breeding for permaculture”. I’ll post some pictures here atleast next summer when things get going.


I’m interested in any seed exchanges with a landrace focus in Europe. Other than using Nordgen, are you aware of any you’d like to recommend? Perhaps we could use this platform to swap seed as well.

We do.
But it was on thé other forum. Thinkific. It’s abandoned now.
This might work for you.

It came from hère…hope you can open it

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I have taken a five hr detour to visit Thomas his project in Perigord and to exchange seeds. Which was great!
I am open for exchanges like that, if somebody visits Burgundy France anyway this summer. Bring your landraces and finest varieties along!


I’d love to get a European seed hub going, especially to support the first stage where you’re looking for maximum diversity. Such a shame we can’t get the seed from is shipped to Europe! Any ideas?

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Despite the depressing fact that the EU relies on the import of whole American forests for it’s green energy supply. I guess we import enough exotic insects that can devastate our forests. I believe we have gone up from 2 annually to 6 now. AEB, the polyphagus shot hole borer is a nightmare.

Exotics imported is a réality. I’d love for universities to pick up the ball and be that hub. But the public universitaires have become prolongation pieces of the agro-industrial complex in my opinion. I’d love to be proven wrong though!

So it’s probably upto us to do it officialy with phytosanitary passports and all. I believe some people from the UK where thinking about it.

Until that time we could trade freely amongst ourselves, but it’s not very lifely so far!

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May I suggest that we start small, but at least get a ball rolling.

  • A first step would be to have a function spreadsheet like the one Morvan posted. I like the idea. As it is now, you cannot edit it (I cannot at least). I’ve made a new spreadsheet and invite you all to fill in your seed list. Can you confirm that it is possible to edit?

LINK: CryptPad

Perhaps we can come up with a better alternative on this platform with time, but now this already seems attractive to me.

An alternative is that we just setup a thread in this forum for running announcements of your seed list and then people can contact each other through the platform. This is more messy, because the threads are chronological and there’s no reason for that. I don’t like this alternative.

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Hello all. With the help of Julia, we now have a separate category for European Seed Swap. I’m not sure exactly how we can use it in the best way, but I’d like to invite you all to start experiment with it and we’ll learn as we go.

Some people have already made google forms to announce which seed they’re willing to share. I think we could do the same thing. Or you simply make a post and write the list of seed you’d like to exchange plus your wish list, the region you’re growing in and other optional information.

I hope we can use this platform and help increase each other’s genetic diversity.

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hello @malterod Rod and @julia.dakin , I just took time to discover the european seed swap category and it seems I am not allowed to create a thread nor to reply to the current threads . Please give me access :pray: thanks ! (isabelle, located in France )

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I would be up for joining in with the a mass order to the UK from the US.

It looks like easy imports to the UK from the rest of Europe are out now with Brexit?

If that’s so, i’ll pop over. But why the fuss you’ve got RealSeeds!

My daughter just returned from a month in Paris. I’ve been kicking myself since almost as soon as she left that I didn’t send her with a a pack of seeds to drop in the mail to one of you fine folks.


Love you for saying that. But customs won’t like that. If accidentaly seeds fall un sandwiches with peanutbutter that might work…
I’ve gathered some have some. Exchanging will spread those.

Hi everyone, it seems that I also can’t write in the European Seed Swap category. @julia.dakin @malterod can you please get me approved for the category? I live in SE Europe and have some seeds to share and swap. Thank you!

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You should be a member now. For anyone else wanting to join the European Seed Swap group, just holla at me or @julia.dakin

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